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A deacon ministering to troubled youths: ‘My alb is my shield’


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/30/16

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An inspiring profile of a young deacon (headed toward the priesthood) in Mexico:

On the troubled fringes of the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, an aspiring Catholic priest is using his faith to reach out to young gang members and at-risk youth and bring them into his “Gang of Christ.” Less than 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the U.S. border, Monterrey is a wealthy city of corporate trailblazers. But violence is never far away on the outskirts, where bricklayers and factory workers walk poorly lit streets to reach simple cinder-block homes. Jose Luis Guerra, 34, also walks those pathways, searching for young gang members who might listen to his message. It is a risky vocation: although violence in Monterrey has fallen from the bloody peaks of 2011, an unknown man pacing the streets after dark still risks being seen as a threat. “My alba is my shield,” Guerra says, referring to his white religious robes. Sometimes seen in his Superman-logo baseball cap, Guerra is a deacon, and will be ordained as a priest in mid-August. Guerra bumps fists with the young boys and girls he meets, and when he talks to them, he sounds more like a psychologist than a priest. Given to cracking jokes, he says of his considerable girth: “It just means that I am full of love.”

Read more.

Photo: Daniel Becerril/Reuters

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